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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Meditation on Starship Structures

+++FROM: Techpriest Silus Omnicron-Corpus+++
+++TO: Distribution List Theta Theta Zed Five+++
+++SUBJECT: Meditations on Starship Structure+++
+++THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Doubt begins with questioning+++
Approximately 72.34 hours ago I was conducting a tour of a local PDF facility and my augmented aural sensors picked up a conversation between two officers. The two were reviewing picts in a training slate regarding ship-board operations. For the sake of efficiency I will spare you the majority of the conversation but one commented to the other that he did not believe the picts were taken aboard a starship due to the vast number of tubes surrounding the area because “spaceships don’t use gas and would not need all that fuel.” After arranging to have the officers terminated for the thought heresy of technical speculation it occurred to me that many junior techpriests who have never traveled on a space-faring vessel or worked in a void edifice might come to similar erroneous conclusions. There are several reasons why tubes and may exist on a starship and why piping is critical.

Although primitive chemical reactions like the kind that still drive projectile weapons and Ork space-faring technology certainly exist, more sophisticated systems drive the Omnimessiah’s works though space. Though not chemical fuel in this sense, sometimes the reactants used to power the systems are in fact kept suspended in a liquid to move them from storage to feed the drives. Usually they are either returned back to their solid or energetic state or the medium within which they are suspended is vaporized as part of the process. However, even for purely energy-based systems, the cabling that transfers the energy from the point of its generation to the point of utilization is frequently surrounded in a shielded tubing to prevent “leakage” of energy, interference with surrounding systems, and protection during combat or inadvertent exposure to high risk environments.

The energetic systems that power the engine and perhaps the other systems of the ship frequently produce large amounts of heat either intentionally or as a side effect of the process of energy transmutation. As such, this heat needs to be either dissipated or transferred to where it will be utilized. As it is sub-optimal to allow the environs of the ship to warm to levels exceeding human tolerance, to include augmented humans, this heat needs to be controlled. Frequently liquid coolants are used to transport or dissipate the heat, often throughout the ship as a means of augmenting the life support system.

Pictured below; fuel processor and coolant tower; both are STC constructs that can be found on planetary surfaces and as part of void-based structures.

Life Support
Human life, especially those who have not been blessed by the Omnimessiah, is particularly fragile. Even the Astartes have limits on how long they can survive in extreme environments. As such, the ship must be kept within certain parameters of heat, pressure, and humidity. Heat has been discussed but air pressure in the form of supplemental atmospheres in case a breach occurs is a must. Most Imperial vessels have in their reserves enough atmospheric gasses to restore the entire ship at least twice although this is kept in highly pressurized tanks well within the ship to ensure it is protected from being lost in the exact sort of event that would require it be there in replacement. In addition, existing air must be heated/cooled, recycled, scrubbed for the buildup of toxic gasses, and then redistributed through the structure. Frequently large ducts or tubing is used in this process. Often such ducts are large enough for fully grown humans to move around in although this is not recommended for a number of reasons. Contrary to popular fiction, the nature of the tubing means that moving around in it creates constant noise thus rendering stealth unlikely to all but the highest trained agents.

Water and Sewage
Again, even augmented humans need a varying degree of water to function so this must be made available throughout the ship. Subsequently there will also be byproducts as wastes are removed. Water is still the most medium in which to transfer these wastes to be processed since it is already present in said material. Such wastes must then be filtered and processed and recycled back for re-use. Note, non-mechanicum humans can become very particular about this process and its results. It is best to keep this information from them as secrets of the Omnimessiah for their own good.

Pictured below: Two evaporator units. Can be used to either condense moisture from the air for consumption or to increase humidity.

An ancient metaphor frequently compared early pre-Mechanicum technicians for space-faring vessels to common plumbing adepts. This comparison is not a illogical as it may seem; a solid knowledge of such matters will in fact be a requirement to ensure proper function of a variety of ship and station-board systems. All techpriests who are expecting assignments on such vessels are required to conduct a study of the rites fluid dynamics and the sacred runes and maintenance rituals associated.
Note, rumors that these structures were built using "Platformer and Hexagon" sets, discarded household water filters and hygeine devices, inexpensive electrical boxes obtained at a "hardware store", and a "dog-chewed Light Saber" are TECH HERESY and will be dealt with accordingly.


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